Administrative professionals are an integral part of your organization. For your admins to be as efficient and effective as possible, it’s crucial that you offer them career development opportunities to keep their skills razor sharp. Training is costly, you say? It doesn’t have to be.
In a 2013 survey of Canadian HR managers conducted by OfficeTeam, 73 percent of senior managers polled said their administrative professionals are important to their organizations’ success. But to maximize their potential, companies need to offer admins ample training opportunities.
Unfortunately, many companies don’t offer subsidized training to their admins, often due to the cost involved. But giving your admins the training they deserve doesn’t have to put your firm in the red. Here are four cost-effective training methods that can help keep your administrative professionals on point and contributing to your bottom line:
1. Cross-training employees
One great way to help your administrative team with their career development is by cross-training employees. Stan may have a real customer service mindset, but Jen is the go-to expert for e-billing tips. By arranging for them to shadow one another, they develop new skills and techniques along with deeper appreciation of their teammates.
Everyone benefits from mentoring: mentor, protégé and your company. In addition to providing educational opportunities, pairing less experienced admins with more seasoned employees gives them a line of support and a sounding board for ideas. Simultaneously, reverse mentoring is in play, affording your veteran admins opportunities to pick up a trick or two from younger colleagues who never knew a world without social media or Microsoft Office.
E-learning options typically aren’t free, but they aren’t unreasonably priced, either. The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP), for example, offers many bundles, which can significantly cut down on training costs. You can also find a wealth of excellent cost-free tutorials on YouTube, but thorough vetting is a must before putting them in front of your employees.
4. Brown-bag sessions
Monthly brown-bag sessions during which your team members lunch together and swap thoughts on what they learned from their training can go a long way and spur new ideas and processes within your company. (When feasible, ramp up the excitement by ordering lunch in for them!) Let your admins take turns enlightening each other about the impact of a skillful PowerPoint presentation or their top Word workarounds. Ask each employee to bring a handful of tips and tricks to share with each other. Not only will those in attendance develop greater technical abilities, their presentation skills and confidence will also improve.
Keeping your admins’ skills up to date isn’t the only reason you should offer career development opportunities and proper training. When you take time to invest in your team and encourage them to broaden their skill set, you show how much you recognize their value. In the long run, this can increase your administrative team’s career satisfaction and loyalty to your company.